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About Us

PIE is member-led by a board of volunteer directors, all passionate about arts in the South West and offering a complementary mix of experience and skills.


The board is currently made up of 4 directors - find out more about the team below!


If you’re interested in joining PiE as a director please apply to join our team!

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Sarah McCourt

Sarah is a Devon-based actor, director, theatre-maker, producer and senior lecturer. Trained at Manchester Metropolitan and Rose Bruford, they have worked for a range of South West arts organisations including Theatre Alibi, Exeter Northcott, Above Bounds, Scratchworks Theatre Company, Exstream Theatre, Exeter Fringe Festival and Theatre Royal Plymouth. Having been selected to take their first show Human Alchemy to Im Stammelbachspeicher, they founded Restless Theatre CIC whilst completing an MFA in Staging Shakespeare and a PhD in Drama at University of Exeter. With support from Camden People’s Theatre, The Bike Shed Theatre, Theatre Alibi and Exeter Northcott, Restless Theatre has created funny, poignant and heart-warming stories that have toured the South West.

Photo credit: Steve Haywood.

Bérengère Ariaudo De Castelli


Bérengère (AKA ‘B’) got her BA in Drama & English from the University of Greenwich and her MA in Theatre Studies from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. She has worked for numerous theatres and arts organisations in London including Theatre Royal Stratford East, the National Theatre, DV8 Physical Theatre, Playful Productions and Les Enfants Terribles. She moved to Exeter in 2016 and has worked there as General Manager for the Bike Shed Theatre, Maketank and Strike A Light (in Gloucester) as well as working freelance with local companies and artists such as Promenade Promotions and Chris White. 


Since moving to Exeter in 2016, I have become dedicated to the idea that world class theatre should not just be for people living in major cities - it should be for everyone! And the only way to do that is to invest in local artists and theatre makers. 

In 2020, I bought a flat in Exeter as I feel very at home in this city, and I want to play my part in improving it. I believe there is currently too much focus on transient individuals - students, visitors and tourists – and not enough focus on the people who live here and will be here for the long haul. I want to make Exeter a destination for artists, not simply a stop on their tour or a place they once studied and/or lived. I believe PiE can be part of helping Exeter reach its potential, and I am very proud to be a part of it. 

Jessa Thompson

Jessa is a Creative with a background in directing, playwriting, producing and performing. She studied Drama at Exeter University, where she began making work in the Southwest and founding Paper Swan Productions in 2017, a company committed to staging socially engaged new writing. Her original work has been performed in Exeter and London, and includes The Parliament (Camden Fringe, 2019), Grounded (Poltimore Festival, 2018), Lens Flayre (Schools Tour, 2019) and Whitechapel (2018). Jessa has experience in new writing development as Literary Manager for Theatre With Teeth 2019 - 2020.


Passionate about storytelling across disciplines, Jessa currently works in publishing at 4th Estate and William Collins Books.


After studying in Exeter and experiencing the South West Arts scene as an emerging creative, I think Exeter is an amazing place to discover and develop your practice as part of a rich arts community. I’m keen to see even more opportunities and networks making theatre and performance more accessible for anybody at any point in their career or creative practice looking for community, support and collaboration.

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Olya Petrakova-Brown - Associate Director

Olya Petrakova is a theatre director, producer, performer and guest lecturer at the University of Exeter. Olya has worked extensively with world-renowned clown Slava Polunin, as theatre and festival director and scholar. Together with Bryan Brown, she created ARTEL, a visual theatre company. ARTEL has presented at the British Grotowski Project (UK 2009), The World is a Place of Truth festival (Poland 2009), The Director’s Forum (Wales 2010), The Laboratory Theatre Network (2012-2015), The S-Word (2016) and led workshops in Poland, UK and USA. With ARTEL and other partners, Olya redeveloped uninhabitable automotive garages in the heart of Hollywood to serve as the performance center Artworks Theatre and Studios (2003-2015). While forging new performances with ARTEL, Olya spearheaded numerous events, festivals & conferences at Artworks such as the Los Angeles Physical Theatre Festival, Art Via Corpora Festivals (part of Hollywood Fringe), Around The Teapot un-conferences, Gogol-Mogol Tearoom Salons, etc. Artworks, later known as Schkapf (2013-2015), also served as an incubator which mentored and developed local ensemble and visual theatre productions, and introduced exchange programs with international theatre practitioners. Together with Charlotte Evans, she continues this activity in EXETER with the collective project MAKETANK which aims to provide space, mentorship and visibility for the cultivation of a vibrant local theatre & performance ecology in the city and the region.

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